Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week Ninety Six in Ecuador - September 21, 2015 - MY LAST EMAIL FROM ECUADOR!!

Hey family,
Well I honestly never thought that this moment would arrive.

This week has been crazy, but honestly probably one of the busiest weeks that I have had in my mission. Which was good because it helped me to keep my head in the game and not focus so much on going home. We were everywhere trying to prepare everthing for the last Saturday for their baptisms but it turned out perfectly. There really was not a better way that I could have asked for to finish my mission.

So first off Saturday night was so spiritual, it was amazing to see so many people ready to make a covenant with God to follow him from there on out. First I had the wonderful opportunity to baptize E. He is 9 years old and his whole family are members. The day before his baptism his mom said to us " With the other missionaries it was different, it's better now because I really fel like it is E's time to get baptized and everything is just falling right into place." Next was M. Her son C. has been a member for a little over a year and she had been visited by countless missionaries and always said to them that it just wasn't her time that she had too many problems and wasn't ready yet. This last week when we visited her I asked her how she was doing and she said, "I'm ready to do this. I feel happy and ready to get baptized." Her son was so excited to baptize her it was amazing to see how God really changed her in these last few weeks. Then there was I. she is the aunt of a recent convert and recently has been having a lot of health problems and in sharing with her how God could help her and just how much he loved and cared for her you could see her joy just shine. She was so excited and ready to make a covenant with God and to recieve his guidance in her life. The lastly there was G. he is the husband of T who got baptized about 3 weeks ago. He asked me to baptize him and it was such a spiritual experience. Then after his baptism he bore his testimony and explained that at first when he saw the missionaries come to his house he didn't want to accept us but explained that in the end it wasn't his desiscion it was God's decsion and that God opened his heart, that now he is ready to be a better person and to live in the gospel. He explained that he is excited to get sealed to T. in the temple and put a goal for the 20th of September next year, he then thanked us for teaching him and bringing a new light into his life.

 Wow I can't even explain the feelings I have had in this last week but it has been amazing. I feel so blessed and I have been pondering and thinking a lot that in reality we didn't even do too much for these people, I mean me personally. It was almost all God ;he prepared them, he opened their hearts, he sent his spirit, he works through 20 year old kids to change the lives of others, but we hardly do very much. We are only instruments in the hands of God, and well as I finish my mission in this week, I only have to keep being an instrument in his hands, and he will continue to use me to work miracles, to feel the spirit and change the lives, of others. Being a missionary is the greatest thing in the world!! There truly is nothing else that brings more joy to our lives than helping others.

I know God lives, I know he knows me better than I do. I know that everyday we have to change and be better and as we are humble and let the power of the atonement work within us we will be made into perfect instruments in the hands of God. He has a plan for each and everyone one of us, he loves us and is willing to give us joy and happiness that is unending all we have to do is trust him, follow the steps of Christ his son and he has a celestial paradise prepared for us and for our families.

I am so grateful for these last two years, and for all of you!! Thanks for supporting me, helping me and never giving up on me. I wouldn't have wanted to spend my last two years in any other way.
Love you all and see you soon.

Viva Ecuador!

 Love,  Elder Lignell                                 Baptisms this past week
                                                             My Going Away Party

                                                     T. and Her Family
                                         Final Celebrations With The People of Ecuador!!!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week Ninety Five in Ecuador - September 14, 2015 - I Can't Believe It Is All Coming To An End

Hey family I'm here again :)

Alright so first off, mom thank you so much for your advice letter.

It's been cool to be on a mission because it's given me another
concept of family and love and service and also joy. I definitely am
not perfect. I know when I get home I won't be perfect. But I feel a
lot more confident now about what I truly want out of life and what
kind of person I want to be. The mission honestly has been the
greatest experience of my life. I don't think there are words that
could explain just how much of a blessing it has been in my life. And
I'm so grateful I've had this opportunity to serve. I feel so blessed
that God stuck with me; he never gave up and honestly God is
the perfect example of patience because all of his kids have problems
and difficulties but he hasn't given up on a single one of us and will
always be willing to help us repent and change. I feel like I'm a
different person, which is good but at the same time the mission is
not the end... I have to keep learning and progressing for my entire

I can't believe it's all coming to an end. I have one week left to work
as a missionary and if everything works out right we will have a few
baptisms and I'll finish very content.

I'm working well with my companion he is learning a ton. T, the lady who got baptized two
weeks ago, invited us over for a dinner as a sort of a going away party for
me :) and her husband is super excited about church; he wants to be
baptized as fast as possible. So anyways the day before the dinner, we
had visited them and we taught her husband (G.) a nice lesson
and at the end he told us that he still couldn't find a new job and I
said,"don't worry, I promise you you'll find one soon" and hey the next
day at dinner he told us about an hour after we left that someone called
offering him a job. We are planing everything so that he can get
baptized this next Sunday after church :)

It truly is crazy how much God helps the missionaries. Sometimes I
feel as if we hardly do anything at all and that people just accept
our invitations and change, and it truly is just amazing. There is no
doubt in my mind that God exists, and something that I love that is
stated in my patriarchal blessing is that I will see God working in
the small details of my life. And it's so true... when we look for him,
we find him in every aspect of our lives! (Family: I invite you all to
do something this next week; pray and ask to be able to notice God in
the small details of your lives and I promise you will all have better
weeks :) ))

Love you guys all so much. I hope you understood what I wanted to say.
Next week will be my last week to be able to write. I'm so thankful
for all that you guys do. Love you all to pieces and when I get back I
would love to eat Panda Express haha and Jake has to be my companion
until I feel normal again. :)

We'll talk next Monday

Love, Elder Lignell

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week Ninety Four in Ecuador - September 7, 2015 - People In My New Area Have Started Called Me "The Elder That Is Going Home Soon" because "Lignell" Is Too Hard To Say In Spanish :)

Hey family, I'm online.

Thanks for your letter...glad Jake is at least doing his homework,
that's what matters :) and congratz on the garden, I'll be ready for
some zuccinni bread when I get back so you'll have to make some!

Thanks for the packing list thing, I think I'll be fine getting it all
in I just hope it's under weight because I think it costs a ton if it
goes over... anyways I'll try my best.

Anyways this week has been great. I'm gonna be honest...finishing the
mission is one of the weirdest things of all time... I just feel odd.

All of the members here have started calling me "Elder that's gonna go
home soon" because "Lignell" is hard for them to say in Spanish. A
member even shared a scripture in church which was Enos 1:27 and he
made me read it... the scipture talks about how soon he would go to
his place of rest... haha so ya it's pretty lame but I still feel like
the same missionary. Still working, and everyday we get more and more
blessed, I feel so grateful.

This week I felt like I really got to feel comfortable in the new sector.
It's been about a month and now we know most of all the members and we
found quite a few people to teach this week. One of those being the
husband of T that got baptized the week before. His name is
G. and he is awesome! We met with him and taught the
plan of salvation and we focused in that families can be together
forever. He was super interested when we told him that and he said,
"Wow that would be great!" haha we set a baptism date for him and he
accepted. And they both came to church yesterday and the bishop
blessed their one month old baby in sacrament meeting. And then in the
second hour he stood up to present himself and he said, "I am being
taught by the missionaries and up until now all the things they
promised me about church have been true, so I think I'll keep coming."
It's awesome but the best part of all is that he was working as a
security guard in an island like 2 hours away from Guayaquil and he
would stay there working for 15 days and then 6 days here, so we
doubted he would commit to go to church next Sunday and he said, "I'm
not going back so I can look for a new job with better hours to be
with my wife and come to church next Sunday!" I was just shocked. God
really does prepare people to come unto him... I love it :)

Then today in my personal study I was studying the atonement and in
Alma 36:20 where it says, "And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I
did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my
pain!" It's the same joy that Lehi felt when he had his dream and
partook of the fruit. 1Nephi 8:12 which says, "And as I partook of the
fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore,
I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for
I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit." In the story the
tree represents the love of God. And in Spanish in the guide to the
scriptures it says that the greatest example of God's love to us is
shown in the atonement of his son Jesus Christ. So first it's like a
giant circle that when we repent we feel God's love and it brings joy
and second, repenting and using the atonement in our lives is the
only way to motivate us to do missionary work, because as the scripture
showed that after Lehi  partook of the fruit, he desired that joy for his
whole family. Cool huh? I hope this is all making sense.  I just wanted to share what I've been learning.

Anyways love you... all write back please!

Elder Lignell